If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Books, Clouds, & Igloos...

We had a very good week. We managed to hit the books 5 days this week, and we got nearly everything done that I wanted done!

Not only all that, but we had excellent fun with a couple of building kits I got (from Kohl's on clearance, less than half the price of the Amazon link)

The Girl hard at work on her igloo-fort
The Boy's completed igloo-fort
The Girl inside her igloo-fort
And now on to the actual homeschooling part...

Language Arts
This week, I introduced both children to book reports, which they happily narrated to me for typing. We went over them a couple of times before either child was quite satisfied. I've posted them in a separate post.

We actually got around to some poetry this week! The Boy read and did his copywork from Shel Silverstein's "Whatif" poem, and The Girl enjoyed hearing and copying out Monica Shannon's "How to Tell Goblins from Elves". We also read "Hiawatha's Childhood". Next week, I'd like to introduce them to Robert Frost. Two things came to me this week in regards to poetry, both through another mom at The Boy's fencing class... one - the idea of reading aloud a poem every day, and then at the end of the week, choosing the favorite to copy; and two - I wasn't aware that AmblesideOnline has poetry anthologies for Kindle over at Amazon! I promptly bought a couple. More on AO to follow (under History)...

Besides that, The Boy worked on a lesson in Soaring with Spelling. He'll have his spelling test later today. He did some work in Word Roots as well. He also finished reading The Mark of Athena and may start The Adventures of Robin Hood soon, or perhaps Dragon Rider, which I think he would really like.

The Girl worked through a lesson in Explode the Code, and started with Beyond the Code. I always assumed, from the name, that Beyond the Code was a follow-up to the other books, but no. Instead it is a reading book that seems to correlate with the ETC books. She read, out loud, a multi-paragraph story about a dog and did some comprehension activities to go with it. She also read to M, from a Little Bear book, so she got in some good practice this week. She and I did have a minor tiff regarding reading, when she stated "I can't read", and I told her I never wanted to hear that again, because it is not true. She may not read extremely well, or fluently yet, but she does read! The conversation ended with her saying "I guess I do!"

Math was awesome this week! I wrote more extensively about the Life of Fred books here. The Girl finished a book, and moved on to the next one this week. She worked on addition, subtraction, set theory, geometry, and telling time, while The Boy tackled set theory, more advanced addition and subtraction, matrices, and unions between sets.

We also read a bit from String, Straight-edge & Shadow: The Story of Geometry, which led to a great exploration of geometric shapes in nature (we dug out our seashell collection, looked at flowers, etc.).

Cell Experiment Pages from Elemental Science - The Girl: left, The Boy: right
We started Logic Stage Biology for real this week! The kids looked at both onion and celery cells under the microscope, we did some reading about cells, and The Boy wrote definitions for "cell" and "mitosis". They colored and labeled plant and animal cell sketches as well.

As far as nature study, we read from The Tarantula in My Purse (great book!), and we read about clouds...

The Boy also read through parts of The Cloud Collector's Handbook, and started making a cloud guide of his own.

We started of the week reading about ancient Sumerians in The Human Odyssey (from K12). We really enjoyed the chapter, and are looking forward to reading more! I need to get prepared again for our Book of Centuries work, which essentially means I need to google images and print them. We also started reading The Golden Bull, a fictitious tale set in ancient Mesopotamia.

I read to The Girl from a couple of American Girl books...

And The Boy and I read about Greek mythology in the D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, as well as the first few chapters in The Story of Greece. I signed him up for the National Mythology Exam, and went ahead and ordered The Book of the Ancient Greeks for more actual Greek history. I also just want to get a better feeling for Dorothy Mills' books, since I think we'll be using her Middle Ages book in the fall.

More about Ambleside Online...
Over the years, I have gone back and forth over history cycles. The Well Trained Mind recommends 4 year cycles, starting with the ancients and ending with modern times, so each period is covered 3 times during the average school years of 1st - 12th grades. Obviously, we haven't been following this well, or The Boy would have finished up Ancients last year, and would be studying the Middle Ages through the Renaissance/Reformation this year! I was browsing around, looking at AO's literature suggestions, when I realized I really like their history cycle, starting with where we are now. The Boy is essentially doing terms 2 and 3 of year 6, though with our own materials, and The Girl is sort of in year 4, studying early American history. If we continue with their cycle, The Boy can spend an entire year on the Middle Ages (one of my favorite time periods), and an entire year on Renaissance/Reformation, rather than cramming both into a single year. I like the fact too that they don't have a definitive history plan for 12th grade, because I would like The Boy to do a semester or so of political science.

We also read about Aristotle in Breakthroughs in Science, and the kids giggled almost hysterically at the idea of him running down the streets of the ancient city, dripping wet and naked (from the baths), yelling "Eureka!" (which by the way is our state motto!), and we started watching The Incredible Human Journey.

And Everything Else This Week
The Boy
The Girl
In art, we completed this project. It was fun because afterwards I was able to show them samples from the same project 5 years ago! Here's what they did this time... I know the pictures aren't the best quality, but my scanner doesn't seem to be working properly, so I had to photograph them.

We read a brief biography of Handel, and listened to his Water Music.

We had a playdate with friends we hadn't seen in quite a long time. At first the kids were a little awkward around each other, but thankfully that wore off quite quickly, and their friendships were nicely renewed!

We watched an episode of Wild Africa, all about the savannah. The cinematography in these shows - Wild Africa, Wild China - is amazing, and we love watching them.

We read the first chapter of The Magician's Elephant, listened to a few chapters of The Sea of Monsters, and finished Dorothy & the Wizard in Oz. We started incorporating some selections from A Picture Perfect Childhood back into our Afternoon Basket, so we read a book about Louis Braille, in addition to the cloud books mentioned above. I can easily see working in more of David Adler's "A Picture Book of ..." books into our Afternoon Basket, as this one was well written, informative, and interesting! I have more books from the January recommendations in A Picture Perfect Childhood on hold at the library.

The Boy started back at fencing this week, and was all smiles throughout the entire class, so I am guessing he's glad to be back at it! 

I'm sure there were other things we did that are escaping my mind at the moment. But, it was a very good week, and I am excited about another one starting tomorrow!

1 comment :

  1. Looks like a great week! We have enthusiastic fort builders here, too...sometimes the entire room to the "bear cave" is a long fort. I'll have to look into those kits.

    I love WTM and Ambleside, but I just can't seem to stay on level-we find rabbit trails that we want to explore and it blows the whole plan. Oh well.


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